41 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AF Directionshttps://www.yell.com/biz/quilon-london-284026/#view=map
Elegant, Michelin starred Quilon doesn't shout about its refined menu of South Indian coastal cuisine, which specialises in tangy seafood; it's far too discreet. Appealingly decorated in a muted palette, with wicker-backed chairs adding to the colonial air, the restaurant attracts business diners and social gatherings in equal parts to its well-heeled St. James's location. The team at Quilon use only the best ingredients and cooking techniques to ensure that each dish highlights their collective passion for home-style Indian cuisine. Always looking for ways to innovate, Quilon often experiments with combining modern and traditional elements of South Indian cuisine to ensure that a unique range of dishes can be found on the menu. The renowned seafood dishes include the Spiced Grilled Red Snapper, Koondapur Fish Curry and Pan Fried Lobster with Kashmundi Mustard Cream Sauce and Spices. For the perfect accompaniment to your meal, you can also choose from an extensive selection of drinks from the wine list, which was recognised in 2009 with Wine Spectator's prestigious Award of Excellence.
Products & Services
Average three-course meal price: £50
Average main-course price: £23
Style: Bistro & Bar
Provided by Livebookings
London Restaurant Reviews - Quilon4
(Pictures at The London Foodie)
Why is good, authentic Indian food so difficult to find in the UK? A few years ago I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in Goa and had the most fantastic food there. It was fresh, beautifully spiced and flavoursome. It gave a glimpse of what Indian cuisine could deliver but also made me realise what a pale imitation is so much of the food we get in Indian restaurants across London.
Since that trip to Goa, I have never found a restaurant back home that has lived up to the memory of those wonderful meals. It is not for the want of trying, and I have been looking ever since...
Quilon, on Buckingham Gate, serves South West Coastal Indian dishes made by head chef Sriram Vishwanathan Aylur. Sriram describes his food as progressive, and having looked at my lunch menu, I could see what he meant judging by the unorthodox ingredients in his cooking (black cod comes to mind!). He gained the restaurant its first Michelin Star in 2008, which he has retained to this day.
The restaurant's decor appears somewhat at odds with its elevated culinary status. Something of an '80s throw-back, the combination of salmon coloured furniture, with cobalt blue plant pots sticking out from the mirrors, and rattan chairs, made it look sadly like a Travelodge breakfast room.
With gaze averted, we started on the intriguing menu with gusto. Mini poppadoms were brought to our table with chutneys of tomato and coconut. Lightly spiced, these were sweet and appetising, making me rather hungry.
Next, Dr G and I shared a medley of starters including a "vegetarian fried cake" of lotus stem and soya bean served with a mango and plum sauce, and "slow roasted lamb shank" which was particularly good, and flavoured with fennel and mint. There were also "crab cakes" with curry leaves, ginger, and green chillies and a "grilled scallop" with small pieces of mango and chilli. I enjoyed all of these appetizers, and was pleased with the vibrant, fresh flavours of each dish.
As a palate cleanser, we were then served a hot, slightly spiced "tomato consommé". It was full of flavour, but I found it incongruous - neither refreshing nor cleansing.
For my main dish I had to go for the "Baked Black Cod" @ £12. As a South Pacific fish, this could hardly be described as indigenous. Black cod is more commonly associated with Japan, where it is hugely popular baked with white miso. Sriram's version had a similar texture - milky and creamy, but tasted deliciously different with the various Indian spices. I really enjoyed this dish.
Another excellent main was the "Prawns Byadgi". This was a massive, succulent prawn, beautifully grilled, and flavoured with the intriguing sweetness of the byadgi chilli.
We also ordered a Mangalorean chicken curry "Kori Gassi" @ £15. This was a sensational curry, and one I don't remember having tried before. Made with a coconut milk base, the curry contained a myriad of spices including coriander, fenugreek and cumin, and also a slight tamarind sourness which balanced the richness of the coconut.
One of the best dishes was the "Crispy Okra" @ £8. The okra had been thinly sliced, battered and deep-fried. It was delicious and a great accompaniment to the fish and chicken dishes.
The "Curry Leaf and Lentil Rice" @ £3 tasted fresh and had hints of coriander and coconut.
The wine menu is a cut above any other Indian restaurant I have visited, and it is no surprise that it received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2009. Prices reflect this with the least expensive bottles starting from £21. On our visit Dr G
Posh Indian (with unusual seafood dishes)4
I had a delicious lobster curry (that's a first for me), an excellent 2 aubergine curry (mushed/ spicey and slice roasted) and a satisfyingly tasty chick pea curry. Top drawer. There were also plenty of other things on the menu that I was itching to try....for example the seafood curry broth appetizer (sounds intriguing).
A nice touch was the unusual amuse bouche of a glass of vegetable or chick pea curry soup - which was more palatable than it sounds and is certainly the first amuse bouche I have ever been offered in an Indian restaurant.
The service was excellent but perhaps the only slightly disappointing thing is the rather cheesy 80's style decor, I was expecting something with a little more atmosphere and pucca-ness - esp for the price. It is certainly not cheap but as I understand it, a very popular and well known spot in Westminster.
Located at 41 Buckingham Gate, Victoria (and looking quite smart inside and out) we took a table for three and started with a spicy masala tea - really nice.
I had prawn poona (£6.50 surcharge) with nan and some yellow nut rice. The prawns tasted great but one of the four turned out to be a disguised piece of fish (it tasted fine though). So £2 surcharge per prawn seemed a bit steep to me but I've no compaints about the taste.
I'd definately go back - and stay longer.